Book Review: The Immortal Rules / Author: Julie Kagwa / Format: Paperback / Publisher: Mira Ink / Release Date: May 4th
Over recent years fans of genre fiction have adopted the word ‘trope’ to put old, familiar story concepts in a positive fashion, rather than using the more well known (but more negative) term ‘cliché’. This is a good thing, because it means I can describe Julie Kagwa’s latest novel, The Immortal Rules as a trope-driven thrill fest without it sounding even slightly negative.
The book is packed with a greatest hits list of familiar ideas that many nerds love; a post-apocalyptic wasteland filled with zombie-like rabids? Check. Ruined cities ruled by sinister clans of vampires? Check? Hot Asian chicks with samurai swords kicking ass? Check. Kagwa takes these popular ideas and sticks them all together with her trademarked style of interesting characters, moral choices, subtle humour and easy going writing style. This is young adult fiction at its best; easy going and accessible to read, but also thought provoking and carefully paced.
This is a well thought out world with a strong plot and interesting ongoing themes; family, responsibility and survival all feature heavily, and the main character (the sword-wielding Asian girl) has an engaging perspective; she begins as a gutter rat and quickly becomes something more powerful. It’s an Earth shattered by plague and monsters, as well as a few hints about other supernatural horrors waiting to pick off the last few surviving strands of humanity.
The tone is set perfectly for the teenage reader, and older types looking for a bit more sex and violence should look elsewhere. That said, there’s plenty of action, and some bloodletting, but the tale takes place in a post-apocalyptic world with intelligent, survival orientated characters so there’s a lot more running away and the odd bit of cautious romance.
This is the first book in Kagwa’s Blood of Eden series, and I’m already hooked. Ideal for the fans of stories with vampires in them who are looking to cleanse their palate of the plethora of Twilight knock-offs that litter the genre.